Thursday, June 15, 2006


I'm as big a partisan as they come for Bend, Oregon's DESCHUTES BREWERY. They are the ones who make probably the best porter in the US of A, Black Butte Porter, and I could also argue with trembling conviction that their Mirror Pond Pale Ale is first in its class as well. I enlivened many a day and evening with these when I lived in the Pacific Northwest in the late 90s, and they've proven to be so popular that they are now very easy to procure throughout Northern California & beyond. They certainly have earned the kudos. So naturally when a new product of theirs appears on the shelves, it's time to spend some sawbacks. I picked up a 6 of the new seasonal CINDER CONE RED ALE a few weeks back, and have slowly been making myself aquainted with it. I think it's fair to say that it's a step down from their lofty catbird seat atop the West Coast beer world, but it's still pretty solid. I like the deep red color and the smell - c'mon, they didn't really sneak a couple pine cones into the vats, did they? -- and it has a subtle malty taste that masks the alcohol pretty well. Bitter but still refreshing. It was a bit "thin" tasting, though, and sorta felt like an experiment, rather than something our friends at Deschutes want to truly make a regular part of the all-star lineup. I tried to imagine this next to a Boont Amber and it was clear - I'd grab the Boont every time. Do yourself a favor and let this one warm up a bit before you start sucking it down, as I found the colder it was the less the strong flavors were discernable, but after that it was pretty serviceable. Hedonist Beer Jive is giving the Cinder Cone Red Ale a decent 6/10. What's next, Deschutes??

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